Where the Land Leaves Off

kingston3

kingstondock

Then I came to an edge of very calm
But couldn’t stay there. It was the washed greenblue mapmakers use to indicate
Inlets and coves, softbroken contours where the land leaves off
And water lies plainly, as if lamped by its own justice. I hardly know how to say how it was
Though it spoke to me most kindly,
Unlike a hard afterwards or the motions of forestalling.

Now in evening light the far-off ridge carries marks of burning.
The hills turn thundercolored, and my thoughts move toward them, rough skins
Without their bodies. What is the part of us that feels it isn’t named, that doesn’t know
How to respond to any name? That scarcely or not at all can lift its head
Into the blue and so unfold there?
~Laurie Sheck “And Water Lies Plainly”

kitsapsunset

Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!
~William Wordsworth from Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 1802

kingston

We feel restless about the tail end of summer when it is too hot for anything to grow or thrive without water.  There is a longing to settle in, like going down for a nap–to drift off in comfort instead of sweating, to sink deep and untroubled tucked under blankets that instead are folded away, unused.

Our long uninterrupted sleep waits so we must take our rest at intervals.  There is some daylight left.

We take our calm as it comes, as a serene moment of reflection, looking out from the edge where the land leaves off and wonder at the still waters to come, to ponder what is waiting on the other side.

ferry1

2 thoughts on “Where the Land Leaves Off

  1. I’ve often wondered about the “pilgrim soul” in W.B. Yeats’ iconic “When You Are Old.” I think the restlessness you illuminate so well in this entry nails it. Aging is a factor of course, but not the only one. There’s something even more fundamental in the human spirit that simultaneously draws us to lie down beside the still waters while also urging us on.
    Though it hasn’t received much comment–and that might be due to the “dog day affect” more than anything else–I think it’s one of your very best. And I’m grateful to have it.

    Like

  2. Thank you, Rob, for noticing and commenting — it was one of those happy-sad days in my life of settling an adult daughter in a town aways from home.

    Blessings, Emily

    Like

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